PropertyGuru Malaysia country manager Sheldon Fernandez says declining prices usually correlate with improved consumer satisfaction.

Many factors should be considered before one buys a house.

Firstly, you need to know if you are actually ready for such a big step.

Secondly, do your research and make sure you are well-informed of the market.

House prices tend to rise over time, so a house is one of the best investments you can make. However, don’t be influenced by people telling you that since prices have dropped now, it is a great time to buy a house.

Property prices, whether on an uptrend, downtrend, or stagnant, should never be the main reason to buy.

If you are a first-time house buyer, you may want to take a breather if you have been property hunting. Perhaps, take the time to study the market and see how it is working at the moment. You may want to talk to property experts and consultants, but whatever you do, don’t rush to buy!

If you already own a home but want to sell it, you should also take your time.

CBRE/WTW managing director Foo Gee Jen said in January that the Malaysian property market is expected to be “flattish” this year.

Speaking at the 2018 Asia Pacific Real Estate Market Outlook briefing, he said property developers are restrategising their products to cater to demand.

According to Foo, the price range that has been deemed acceptable by the public within the Klang Valley is RM500,000 for landed property.

For outside the Klang Valley, it is RM300,000 to RM350,000.

Foo foresaw continuous growth in volume for this category of the market as more developers are coming forward to provide for the needs of the market.

PRICES ON DOWNTREND

According to PropertyGuru, real estate prices in Malaysia continued to decline in the fourth quarter of last year as the market corrected itself amid a complex scenario of growing oversupply in certain segments and a prevailing lack of consumer affordability.

The PropertyGuru Market Index (PMI), which tracks the asking prices of residential properties in Malaysia, showed a decrease of 1.6 per cent for the quarter compared with the previous quarter.

In a year-on-year comparison, prices fell by 3.7 per cent.

Save for June, February and October, all other months last year showed a decline in asking prices across all classes of residential properties.

The PMI is derived from PropertyGuru’s extensive proprietary data, which includes but is not limited to, the asking prices of over 250,000 residential property listings on its online property portal.

PropertyGuru Malaysia country manager Sheldon Fernandez said the declining trend was consistent with prevailing market sentiment.

He said the ongoing price correction was healthy for the residential sector in the medium and long terms.

“The declining trend was evident throughout 2016 and 2017, so it’s no surprise. More importantly, it has been gradual, so there are no significant shocks to the market, and both buyers and sellers can adjust themselves accordingly.

“Declining prices usually correlate with improved consumer satisfaction. In fact, our last consumer sentiment survey showed consumer positivity towards the real estate sector had improved,” he said.

Fernandez said with the lack of affordability continuing to be a major issue, there was greater downward pressure on asking prices.

He said while the desire to transact remained strong, 67 per cent of property buyers could only afford houses priced between RM300,000 and RM500,000.

In tandem with the national price trend, all key property markets, including Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Johor and Penang, also saw asking prices decline in the quarter.

In Kuala Lumpur, prices dropped 1.2 per cent compared with the previous quarter. Similarly, Selangor, Johor and Penang saw quarterly price decrease 2.1, 0.5 and 0.2 per cent, respectively.

However, certain key locations across all four property epicentres experienced price stability, or sellers were still able to relatively maintain their price offerings.

In the Klang Valley, these were Sentul and Bangsar, while up north, Balik Pulau and Tanjung Bungah in Penang remained comparatively stable, it noted.

“Bangsar is a mature location with an established name. Hence, the ability of owners, especially those who bought their properties many years ago, to hold on to their prices,” said Fernandez.

Meanwhile, in Johor, prices were largely on an uptrend for the quarter, but popular locations such as Nusajaya saw prices declining slightly, while emerging hotspots like Gelang Patah showed upward price movement.

“This is probably due to consumers searching for homes in alternative areas compared with the established areas of Nusajaya and Johor Baru.

“However, given that Johor prices have been on a high for a while, on a YoY basis, prices are still holding,” said Fernandez.

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